Red Fluid Leaking near Front Bumper

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Cynthia Grant

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Hi! My 2003 ST (225K miles) has suddenly developed a new leak (see pics). I first noticed it after a 150-mile day trip, which included about 3 miles of driving on a very rough gravel road/path. Saw the puddle under the front bumper (passenger side) on the driveway the next morning. Didn't drive it for three days and then checked all of the fluids. It just had a tune-up and oil change at my local mechanic a week ago (before the trip). I let it run in the driveway for about 20 minutes so I could check the transmission fluid level. This red liquid was leaking out while it was running. It seems to be dripping from the cover/shield that is right behind the bumper (see photos), coming out of those two square holes (much of that shield looks wet, also). Does anyone know what this liquid is? The transmission fluid in the reservoir looked more orange than red, and it still had an acceptable amount in there. I didn't notice any issues while driving the truck. FYI, it's on its second tranny. The original tranny was replaced at 125K miles.

Thanks for any insights you can share. I đź’• my truck and hope to put another 100K miles on her! :)



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blert

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From that area... I would say either coolant or transmission fluid but check the power steering fluid also. MerconV (used in transmission and power steering) is cherry red when new. The transmission has lines going into the radiator for cooling. The seams on the plastic radiator tanks have a tendency to split and at 200k+ miles you are likely due a new radiator. Pull that bottom "shield" off and take a look up in there for where the leak is coming from (wear eye protection, you don't that crap in your eyes). Also take a look at the transmission lines going into the radiator, you can't miss them.
 

DILLARD000

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"Red Fluid" is AutoTransmissionFluid\ATF, specificly MerconV for your 5r55e Transmission.
Likely leaking from one of the two WormClamped Hose~Tubing connections for the TransCooler
behind the grille, just under the right side of the Radiator.
An easy fix; remove a few screws holding up the lower plastic cover to expose those connections.
Tighten up or replace the WormClamps, then top off the ATF as needed.
 

Cynthia Grant

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Thanks so much! I will remove the shield and see if I can tell where the leak is coming from. Would love it if my truck does NOT need a new transmission, but just some tightening of connections! If I can't just resolve on my own, and assuming it is transmission fluid, is it safe to drive it the 2 miles to my mechanic's shop? Or better to have it towed?
 

DILLARD000

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Thanks so much! I will remove the shield and see if I can tell where the leak is coming from. Would love it if my truck does NOT need a new transmission, but just some tightening of connections! If I can't just resolve on my own, and assuming it is transmission fluid, is it safe to drive it the 2 miles to my mechanic's shop? Or better to have it towed?
Happy to help!
Check ATF level at the DipStick on the right side of the engine before driving anywhere;
let engine & tranny warm up to 150f+ first then check the level idling in Park on level ground.
Top off the MerconV into the DipTube, to proper level.
If it's just a drip, should be OK driving a couple of miles. If more than a drip (gushing!), have it towed.
If it's only a leaking TransCooler hose connection,
don't let a mechanic charge more than an hours labor & a few bucks for WormClamps+ATF.
If you've not had your Transmission ATF+Filter changed in the last 33kMiles, consider having that done.
Also best to do a general inspection under neath for any other leaks & loose\broken\worn suspension parts
assuming the mechanic puts it up on a lift.
At 225k Miles & 18+ years old, this horse likely needs some extra TLC to keep her going another 100k.
 
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Len Jorgenson

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Had a similar situation on my 2003 recently. Found one of the steel transmission cooler lines was completely rusted out in that location. Replaced both lines - all is good again.
 

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